Nfld. & Labrador

She had an unexpected visitor — on her roof. And it was … a polar bear?! Yep, a polar bear

Bobbi Stevens says she was completely unaware of the polar bear sitting on the roof of her Northern Peninsula home Sunday evening. It was probably for the best.

St. Anthony sighting just the latest in string on Newfoundland's north coast and in Labrador this year

A polar bear climbed onto the roof of Bobbi Stevens's home in St. Anthony on Sunday evening. (Kenneth Keats/Facebook)

Bobbi Stevens of St. Anthony, N.L., says she was completely unaware of the polar bear sitting on the roof of her Northern Peninsula home Sunday evening.

It was probably for the best.

"My dog came and jumped on me and then took off running, so I thought there was somebody at the door," Stevens told CBC News on Monday. "I opened the top part of the door and looked out, and when I looked up on the bank above my steps this polar bear was looking me in the face."

Stevens said she got quite the scare from the bear, who climbed onto and off her roof using a tall snow bank, seen in security video from her neighbour's house. Stevens said she's thankful the bear didn't damage her roof.

"My roof's not that strong and I only have one door on this house.… One less nail and he might have come through," she said. "I'm just glad I didn't know he was there when he was there."

The incident is the latest in a number of recent polar bear sightings on the north coast of Newfoundland and in Labrador. Agnes McCarthy of Goose Cove, also on the Northern Peninsula, got a close look at two polar bears as they took a walk through her driveway — one of them checking out a neighbour's house and then returning.

WATCH: A polar bear jumps onto Bobbi Stevens's roof as it explores St. Anthony:

Polar bear climbs onto roof of Newfoundland home

1 month ago
Duration 0:53
A polar bear climbed onto the roof of Bobbi Stevens's home in St. Anthony on Sunday evening.

"He went across the road over to another house around there, then it came back again. I was out in the door with two pans," McCarthy said, laughing.

She said other residents on her street were working to move their bears out of the area, with one resident even shooting a gun into the air to scare the bears away. The RCMP are asking residents to keep their distance from the bears if they see one and call police or wildlife conservation officers.

McCarthy said polar bears show up in the area every year but she has never seen one approach a house in the way the two bears did.

"This year it seems like they're getting braver," she said. 

"I takes my patio table and jams it up against my outside door. I puts the chairs from the table all out in the porch, and my front door I puts a wheelchair there and locks it. I don't know what I'll do tonight — probably put the table, the chesterfield and the whole set up there."

Bears appearing in different places, says polar bear guard 

Jeffrey Keefe has been a polar bear guard in Black Tickle in southern Labrador for over two decades, working with the Canadian Rangers to keep an eye on polar bears when they come into town.

He said the bears find their way into the region as they travel on sea ice, often finding their way into communities through their own curiosity.

"This year we've had more here than we've had the past couple of years," he said. "The last few years we've had very few polar bears come through due to the ice conditions. But [this] year we're getting back up again. I think we've had 17, 18 or something come through."

Polar bears are often seen yearly in the community of Black Tickle in southern Labrador. (Submitted by Edwin Clark)

Keefe said he has no real fear of being attacked by a polar bear, as they can often be scared by the presence of humans. This year is slightly different, however, as bears are showing up in places they aren't usually seen.

"We've had polar bears actually in through the trails, in through the woods, because they're getting drove ashore in different areas," he said, adding that he believes the unusual sea ice patterns are being caused by climate change.

"We've had really rough seas all year, so you're getting the animals being drove in different areas than they normally would be going."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Patrick Butler

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